Backing repression seeds terrorism

‘In my distress a voice said to me, “Smile and be happy, for things could be worse.” And I smiled and was happy, and behold, things did get worse.’ This quote from an unknown writer sums up the drift of our fortunes this past week. You remember we wrote about the first of two distressing allegations which we hoped Yaounde would have the grace to refute, if only for image laundry purposes. That was the “Bami Cash for Anglo Blood” question. And we promised to introduce the second subject subsequently, hoping, as we ran it through our scanner, that it would turn out a non-story. But while we are still combing about for any evidence of the Typhoon fighter jet deal London is alleged to have been struck with Yaounde, here comes Donald Trump with worse news than that for real. While it is still may-or-may not with Theresa May, Washington’s deal maker hits the table with a trump card – a donation of two fighter jets to Yaounde.
Real or fake, news of Britain selling military jets to Yaounde would shock and disappoint only those who still live under the illusion of British benevolence towards former Southern Cameroon. Even as we scoff at the parasitic relationship between France and its colonies, having Britain as a political midwife is the worst thing ever to have happened to Southern Cameroons. Come to think of it, the whole trusteeship exercise now appears to have been more of a window which the allied powers opened for themselves to milk the former German colonies for a while, under the pretext of preparing them for independence. France tucked heartily into the opportunity, and like a mistletoe, used it to entrench her parasitic roots inextricably into the territories entrusted to it. The result is that few, if any, of the countries in its so-called pré-carré have ever known real independence.
Britain, for its part, was rather insular, ungenerous, standoffish and shamefully myopic in assessing the real potential of the territory entrusted to it – hence the haste to give Southern Cameroons away in a marriage of inconvenience to covetous France through its local proxy. And we are told that the bride price was a miserable 20 million pounds sterling.
Close to 60 years on, not even once has Britain been seen to stand by former British Cameroonians as they struggle with the abusive marriage she sold them into. The Queen had well and truly parted with her “little gift” to de Gaule.
So the alleged aircraft sale, were Yaounde to even find the money for it, would only be evidence that the Brits put their heart where their mouth is. But it would also be evidence that they still do not know the people they sold. In this struggle they are backing the wrong horse for the second time. And with such myopia, no wonder the sun set so soon on the Empire.
Now to tweeting Don. Again his move, like his many contradictions, is perfectly in character. One moment he is making strident calls against shithole countries where strong men cling to power and kill their own people (he even excludes some of them from a dinner he hosted in DC) – the next he is giving them jets to kill more.
Perhaps unlike the UK, America knows Cameroon inside-out. Given the strategic interest Yaounde represents in the sub-Region, the US embassy is a lot more than just a diplomatic outpost. With his ubiquitous network of geckos Trump cannot pretend to be unaware of the crimes against humanity attributed to the regime’s army – the mass murders, the razing of villages, the plundering of farms to wipe out the next harvest – and one hopes sincerely that Yaounde can reassure the world, by allowing independent verification, that this weekend’s gassing allegations in Lebialem are truly false.
So if you were dealing with a normal US President, you would ask how come he can give war planes to an army that does that to people it calls its own. But President Trump is a maverick whose mission seems to be to make a mockery of all the values that made America the greatest country on this planet.
His donation comes at a time when Yaounde is throwing everything it has into the bloody war he declared against former Southern Cameroonians. That context makes absolute nonsense of Trump’s claim that the planes are meant for the fight against Boko Haram. He cannot be unaware that he is aiding and abetting genocide, especially after Yaounde’s made it clear that the use of the planes for other operations was not excluded.
Trump’s embarrassing behaviour is certainly not seen here as a testament to America’s interest in keeping Cameroon one and indivisible. He certainly is aware that the level of ongoing carnage in the wake of the war has generated so much antipathy for the Yaounde regime that it would take a miracle of confidence building to make reconciliation an option. In the event of an unavoidable split, Trump certainly knows what America stands to gain by backing the one side or the other. It does seem, however, that his donation to Yaounde is more a gesture to France, America’s ally whose parasitic interest in Cameroon he cannot afford to hurt, at a time when he needs Macron’s support on many other fronts.
What this means is that the strong of this world can no longer be relied upon to stand up for the oppressed, if doing so is likely to offend a friend or jeopardise some interest. That makes for a world where interests are omnipotent and principles impotent; a very unsafe world for the rising number of peoples whose very existence is threatened by blood-thirsty regimes.
When the big interests with their veto power pocket the UN, shielding offenders from international justice, is it any surprise that terrorism has become a global pandemic? If America cannot persuade France to make Biya seek a sensible solution to the Southern Cameroons problem, what happens if the young men they are now radicalising end up in the embrace of terrorist groups like Boko Haram or ISIS? After all, what do you expect by insisting on lumping them together? Children tend to resemble the names you give them. What can two jets do about that, when France and America are themselves living daily in the fear of terrorist attacks at home?
May, Trump, Macron and the rest of the club must be reminded, while there is still time, that the bands of desperados they create in the pursuit of their selfish interests abroad will not fail to haunt them at home.

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